PowerShell with a Purpose Blog

Welcome to PowerShell With A Purpose

When I was approached to begin blogging here on Windows IT Pro, the publishing team's first question to me was, "what will you write about?" PowerShell was an obvious answer, since I've been working with it since well before its launch; in fact, my MVP Award from Microsoft is in the PowerShell specialization. But what, specifically, would I write about PowerShell?

There are dozens of great blogs about PowerShell. The official team blog is at http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShell/. Many of my fellow MVPs have blogs, including http://huddledmasses.org/, http://dmitrysotnikov.wordpress.com/, and http://marcoshaw.blogspot.com/. When I look at them all, I see some seriously hardcore PowerShell users, pumping out some serious hardcore code. That made me think for a moment.

When I first started teaching PowerShell, I was mainly speaking to folks with a strong background in VBScript. That makes sense - they were perfectly positioned to take advantage of PowerShell. They wanted to know how to accomplish almost everything in the shell, and they weren't afraid to jump into COM, the .NET Framework, WMI, and other really advanced stuff - stuff that's really more programmer-like than command-line focused. But recently, I've been seeing a "second generation" of PowerShell user: Administrators who have plenty of command-line experience, but aren't comfortable with programming. They're willing to use the shell if they can use it as a shell, but they're really not interested in learning to "script," per se. In fact, one person summed it up perfectly at a recent Techmentor conference: "If I can't do it with a command-line tool, I'll just keep using the GUI until someone writes a command-line tool. I'm not a programmer."

Those folks tell me that they've held off on PowerShell for so long, simply because so many online examples are so complicated - they feel like they should buy a copy of Visual Studio, learn C#, and start writing applications for a living.

Jeffrey Snover, one of the leading minds behind PowerShell, likes to say that PowerShell was intended to serve a variety of audiences across different skill levels. The experts jumped in early and are having their fun; now we're seeing folks who are really one of PowerShell's biggest intended audiences: Administrators who want a kick-butt command-line shell. 

So that's who I'll be writing for, in large part: Admins, who aren't enamored of PowerShell as a hobby - they just want to USE it for stuff. And, of course, I'll be writing about more advanced things, too - after all, I'm a PowerShell enthusiast myself, and I love nothing more than diving under the hood to see what makes different bits tick. So I'll try and keep it mixed up, so that everyone has something to read every week. 

If you find yourself with tricky PowerShell questions, please submit them to me! Use the FAQ link in the top nav bar, because I have to come up with 2-3 FAQ answers every week, and it'll be a LOT easier if I only have to come up with the answers, rather than having to guess at the questions, too!

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